I don't know why, but out of nowhere I'm missing these to British rappers really hard.
And Neneh Cherry
I like when English people say, "What's he like?"
I don't know why, but out of nowhere I'm missing these to British rappers really hard.
And Neneh Cherry
I like when English people say, "What's he like?"
Here is a series of photos of Reb Brown, certified hunk, fire of my loins, the 1970's Captain America and star of such great films as Space Mutiny and Yor, The Hunter from the Future.
Here are some things we could do on our dream date (a partial list.)
Check this shit out. Neil Labute and Theresea Rebeck are going to write a play together, LIVE, and you get to choose the story. Here are your options:
I choose the one that's not about boring, white*, straight people from the upper middle class. Oh, wait...
Oh. Oh, that's too bad. Is it just me or do all of these options just seem so milquetoast? I don't know. I just don't feel like watching any of these plays. Here, guys. Ima help you:
See? That wasn't so hard. These are way more interesting.**
*Bitch, you know those are some cracker ass names.
**Now I totally want to write all of these plays.
EDIT: I should have made it clear that these ideas did not come from the playwrights. "Mea culpa, or whatever," which will also be the title of my autobiography someday.
This is your new favorite video. Watch it forever.
Thanks be to friend and collaborator Megan Hill for introducing me to Icy Spicy Leoncie, Iceland's Madonna by way of India.
According to her website, Leoncie is "a Musical Wizard and her Musical Work is that of an Incredible Genius. Her Music is not just a Crush, it's a lifelong Love Affair. Her Original Fresh music is a lovely range of aggressive and yet soul touching sensual melodies. Hear SEX CRAZY COP.Brilliant Performance. Leoncie spends countless hours perfecting her music before recording in studio."
I actually really like her voice. She sort of sounds like Nina Hagen sometimes. And I like her sense of humour. Sure, her production values might be a little off, but I don't know... she seems fun. Like, have you ever been really drunk at a bar and met a crazy person that you tell your friends about for years to come because nobody would believe that person exists?
Personal story. Some friends and I once went to a Hell's Angels' karaoke bar in Queens- a terryfying sort of place, but also a lot of fun. There was a trashcan fire there- an honest to God trashcan fire! The whole evening was hosted by a rather large, smoky voiced woman named Taz, who looked amazing in a black leather catsuit. Taz was a very bawdy, hilarious woman, but when she sang (and it was always, like, Concrete Blonde's "Joey" or something) she had the voice of an angel and would quiet the bar in a matter of seconds.
Leoncie is like Taz.
God, my life was so ugly before Leoncie. From now on my life will be split into two categories: BL and AL, for before and after Leoncie.
I love the descriptions of each video. This is "Invisible Girl":
Are you Ready for the most Magical Carpet Ride of your life! INVISIBLE GIRL is an Awesome song with great Music and Lyrics by LEONCIE who will dazzle you with her Energetic performance and Piano playing.
"Killer in the Park":
UPTEMPO RIVETTING SONG THAT GUARANTEES TO GET YOUR TOES TAPPING WANTING MORE EXCITEMENT! Watch this cop in action.
My personal favorite. "Man! Let's Have Fun!"
TRAVEL WITH EXCITING LEONCIE TO EXOTIC PLACES. ENJOY YOURSELF, HAVE INCREDIBLE FUN THAT ONLY SUPER ICY SPICY LEONCIE CAN PROVIDE!
Leoncie, thank you for making my world sexy and exciting!
I saw The Shaggs at Playwrights Horizons, a new musical about a band that I've been obsessed with since I was a teenager. For the uninitiated, The Shaggs were three teen sisters in New Hampshire whose father pulled them out of school and forced them to start a band, squandering the family's savings in the process. The band never went anywhere and was relegated to obscurity until the early 80's when radio djs began to play the record as a joke.
It's a really sad story, and it made me glad that these girls didn't record their album in the world of today, with youtube and social networking everywhere. In that regard, they were spared.
But not everybody laughed at The Shaggs. Frank Zappa really loved them. So did famed music critic Lester Bangs. And so do I. And no, not ironically. Sure, they weren't the best songwriters or musicians but, then again, neither were The Ramones. The Shaggs managed to capture the innocence and sadness and anger and mystery of being a teenage girl all at once, and watching the play made me think of The Virgin Suicides and how that novel felt to read. This felt similar. There is something special and weird and wonderful about their music, but also something mysterious and dark too.
I was disappointed to read Isherwood's review in The New York Times. Not because he didn't like the play per se, but because of his glib dismissal of The Shaggs themselves. EDIT: I just read The wall Street Journal review, which is entitled"How Do You Create A Musical About A Terrible Band?" Sigh. I know I'm being sensitive, but The Shaggs mean something to a lot of people, myself included. It made me think about taste.
When I was thirteen I was obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Like, really, really obsessed. it had just been played on television for the first time in history for its 20th anniversary, so a lot of kids my age were seeing it for the first time. And, mostly, the kids at school didn't like it. It was gay and weird and cheap (all the things that make it great) and the dumb kids at school just didn't get it. It hurt my feelings, but then it also became a barometer for me. A litmus test. I was simply unable to respect somebody's taste if they didn't like it. That, to me, was 101 shit.
When I was single I couldn't date anybody who didn't like rock and roll music. Why? Because it's just too important to me. Music and movies and plays and art are the most important things in the world to me (after friends and family.) I'm reminded of a quote from High Fidelity: "I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films -- these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the f****n' truth." It struck me, reading Isherwood's review, how protective I am of these offbeat little things I love.
I remember seeing a play in the marathon at Ensemble Studio Theatre a few years ago and loving it so much that it's basically my favorite short play I've ever seen. I re-read the script all the time when I need a pick-me-up. I was shocked to discover later that this particular play upset people so much they complained or even walked out and I still fight people about it to this very day. (Later it really hurt my feelings when a few people acted the same away around my play, The Sluts of Sutton Drive. Hell, it was probably the same audience members.)
On the flipside, there have so many things that are universally loved that I just detested. How could anybody sit through Forest Gump? Who on earth would be seen in a Juicy Couture tracksuit? I'm constantly frustrated by other people's "common" taste. And you know what? That makes me an asshole.
This is a lesson I've learned over and over and over in life, but it never quite sticks. To quote my granny, "It takes all kinds." Not everybody can like The Shaggs or Rocky Horror or punk rock or the plays I write. Sure it'd be nice if they did, but they won't.
I don't want to call out Isherwood. I almost never agree with the Times, as their taste, to me, always seems a little stuffy and unadventurous. I don't want to argue the merits of this particular musical, either. I enjoyed it and found it moving, but who cares what I think?
All I want to say is this: let's be our own taste makers, yes? Let's all protect what's precious to us, advocate for the art we love, and follow our own taste. It's really the only way to find a gem.
Should we talk about Kreayshawn? Yes, let's. God knows everybody else is. I've seen this video on Gawker and Jezebel and more, so I'm pretty late to the game. But whatever. This is a personal blog. I write on my own schedule.
Kreayshawn just got a fancy record contract with Columbia, so good on her. Watch this video and come back.
First thing's first. Here are the things I like about Kreayshawn:
1. She's from Oakland. If you haven't noticed from my obsession with Hunx & his Punx, Shannon and the Clams and Nobunny, I'm totally enamored of Oakland and its scene.
2. Her mom is in a surf punk band, The Trashwomen. That gives her some music cred, as far as I'm concerned.
3. This is really shallow, but I love her look and overall sense of fashion. And I love her friend with the glasses.
4. The song, for it's simplicity, is pretty fucking catchy.
Here are some reservations I have.
1. At first glance I really like the anti materialism, anti conformity messaging.
Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada
The basic bitches wear that shit, so I don't even bother
But, then, Kreayshawn contradicts herself and spits out the most common sorts of wealth flashing:
Young, rich and flashy I be where the cash be
So which is it, Kreayshawn? As my A.P. English teacher, Mrs. Ferguson, would say: "Stay on thesis."
2. This is a bit more complicated, and as a white man I may not be the best person to be writing about this, but when I see a white hipster surround herself with people of color in a rap music video, it makes me a little uncomfortable. Is she being ironic? Or is this who Kreayshawn genuinely is? Is this where she comes from? I don't know whether this is co-opting or the real deal, and it makes me feel uneasy. Am I alone in this? Maybe I am, since I haven't seen anybody else write about it.
The first time I saw a picture of Ke$ha, I felt similarly. I'd heard the song "Tik Tok" all over the place, and when I saw that the singer was actually a white girl from L.A. it gave me pause. That said, I don't know Kreayshawn or Ke$ha's personal histories and can't know what's in their hearts. I went to predominantly Black and Latino public schools in some of the cities I lived in, so I know first hand that there are white kids growing up amongst people of color exclusively. But I also know from living in Seattle and then Williamsburg that white hipsters will sometimes embrace parts of hip hop in a way that's semi ironic and pretty gross. Are these artists racist for co-opting what could be considered a "black" sound, or am I racist for thinking a sound is "black" or "white"? Are we ALL racists? I honestly don't know.
There's a reading of my new old play on Tuesday, June 14th. I say new old play, because I wrote it rather quickly a few years ago for my very first Bloodworks reading.
And it kind of sucked.
Sure, the idea was great. I wanted to write a play about the trope of the gay sidekick- something I hate with a burning passion. Why is it we only get to be around so long as we're decorating an apartment or saying something sassy or doling out sex advice to straight girls? I suppose it is better than it was. When I was a kid people only wanted to see representations of gay men who were dying. In that respect, I suppose Stanford from Sex and the City is a step forward. Still, when I hear Kathy Griffin or whoever talking about "their gays" it makes me want to go to sleep forever.
So I wanted to write a comedy about a gay man surrounded by glamorous women who is struggling to be the star of his own life. And... I kind of failed. I wrote it really quickly and couldn't really handle all the themes that were jumping out.
That said, I recently dug the play out and completely gutted it and reworked it. And you know what? I really like it. I think it's funny and sweet and less angry than a lot of my other work. It actually turned out to be a sort of romantic comedy, which surprised the hell out of me. It wants to be an adorable little indie film starring, like, Joseph Gordon-Levitt or some shit. So if you don't like my play The Sluts of Sutton Drive or MilkMilkLemonade, maybe you will like this one.
Here's the other thing. This is my last Youngblood event ever. So you should come celebrate with me. If there's one thing I've learned from I Wanna Destroy You, it's this: I'm a better writer at 30 than I was at 27. And it's all because of Youngblood. And that is something to celebrate.
I've mostly been neglecting this blog because I was busy maintaining the Youngblog, and that sort of become an obsession of mine. Now that I'm transitioning out of Younglood and into being an official, grown-up member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, I've passed on the Youngblog to playwrights Patrick Link and Meghan Deans, who I know will keep it alive and thriving.
The nice thing about Tarhearted is that I don't just have to write about theater. I can write about other things I love like punk rock, politics, obscure movies and comic books. That said, this entry is about theater.
I just returned from my first trip to London, where I was part of the Old Vic US/UK Exchange. Basically, seven British playwrights, directors and producers came to New York for a week and did a ten minute play festival at The Vineyard with about fifty British actors. While they were here they stayed with American buddies and took meetings/did workshops with top American theaters. A couple of weeks later we switched places and the Americans went to London and did our ten minute plays at The Old Vic.
It was an amazing experience. I can't tell you how thrilling it was to see my work on The Old Vic stage. The meetings my English buddy had when he was here were meetings I could only dream about: Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public, St. Anne's, Ars Nova... The reverse was true as well. I took meetings with The Hampstead, The Old Vic, The Old Vic Tunnels, Soho Theatre, The Royal Court, The National, Theatre 503, The Bush and Pains Plough among others. I came away with some key differences between our two counties.
The obvious difference is funding. All of the the spaces I met with received government funding (I think, though sometimes it didn't come up.) This allows them to take risks that American theaters just plain can't take. The Hampstead, for instance, has a new downstairs space that only does fully realized productions of new plays. Here's the kicker: they don't allow the press. They want to give new plays the chance to come to life before they are battered around by the press. It's a really, really appealing idea for me as a playwright. A theater of their size in New York couldn't do one of my edgier plays because if it didn't do well they might have to shut their doors.
Another thing I noticed: the theaters seemed to love playwrights. I was invited to come and write in at least three or four of the theaters. They basically said, "We have this lobby or this cafe or this empty room etc. so we encourage writers to come here, hang out and just write." It was so nice to hear and I wish some New York theaters would do the same. Perhaps some of them do, and I'm just not on the inside track? I don't know. A lot of the theaters, too, have "attachments" where they even give playwrights a little money to hang out and write for a week or two, which is another benefit, I presume, of government funding. I hate writing at home because it's not neutral enough, but I also don't like the distraction of a coffee shop. It would be really lovely to write in, say, The Public Theater's beautiful lobby.
Another thing: the Brits seem to love young playwrights. I mean really, really love them. The Royal Court is doing a play by a 19 year-old. They did her first play at 17. I heard a lot of complaints about this from the British playwrights on the exchange, who seemed to feel like there was always an emphasis on the work of very young, middle class white girls- who also happen to have hip, beautiful headshots to go with their bio. That, I think, is really interesting. The reason Youngblood is so important is because there are so few opportunities for young playwrights in America. Theater administrators, audiences, etc- at least in my perception for the past few years- are largely baby boomers or older and not particularly interested in programming work by or for young people, who can't afford their shows anyway. Now that I'm thirty, we'll see how my perception changes. I feel really conflicted about this. Can't we find a happy medium?
The last thing I noticed, and this is hard to put my finger on or understand culturally, almost all of the Brits' plays in their showcase were naturalistic and almost none of ours were. I wonder why that is? Is it just random, or is there some sort of cultural significance.
Anyway. London is amazing, and it was cool to meet my contemporaries, both British and American. That said, I'm happy to be back in bad old Brooklyn where I belong.
Me, christopher oscar pena, and Jonathan Caren in a London cab. Photo by Janine Nabers. BFFs.
P.S. to my Brits: your bacon is not bacon. Get it together.
This maker and star of this short film was my best friend in college. She was my first muse and I wrote all of my earliest plays for her. We are kindred spirits. Nasty, messed up kindred spirits. God, I wish we lived in the same city.
NSFW. Fuck, this ain't even safe for LIFE.
Tarhearted proudly presents, Farm Fresh Girl.
Check out the rest of the site, CLIIT, which spoofs third wave femism and lazy progressives in amazing ways.